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Resources for students & teachers

George Turner (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 189 pages of information about Samoa, A Hundred Years Ago And Long Before.

17.  SINA ’AI MATA—­Sina the eye-eater.

This god was incarnate in the bird called Ve’a, and was the juvenile scarecrow of the family.  “Do not make such a noise; Sina, the eye-eater, will come and pick out your eyes.”  The eyes of fish were sacred to this god, and never eaten by any of the family.

18.  TONGO.

1.  In one family this god was incarnate in the bat, and was supposed to be specially attentive to turmeric.  When a party of women were met to grate the root and prepare some of this native dye and cosmetic they usually had some food together.  If at such a time a woman concealed a tit-bit to eat by the sly, when she came to put it to her mouth it had been changed into turmeric by the anger and power of Tongo.

2.  The stinging ray fish was the incarnation of Tongo in another family.  If they heard of any neighbour who had caught a fish of the sort, they would go and beg them to give it up and not to cook it.  A refusal would be followed by a fight.

3.  In another family Tongo was incarnate in the mullet, and the penalty for eating that fish by any of them was a disease ending in a squint.

19.  TUIALII—­King of Chiefs.

1.  In one family this god was greatly praised as being a good and kind deity.  In a time of scarcity, for instance, he led them to some place in the bush where they could dig up plenty of wild yams.

2.  In another family this god was prayed to for life and health before the evening meal; an offering of a blazing fire was essential to the success of the prayer, which ran as follows:—­

     “This is our fire to you, it burns bright; other fires are dim and
     going out; send these families to the lower regions, but give us
     life and health.”

The sea eel, octopus, and mullet were incarnations of this god.  He was also seen in the ends of banana leaves.  If any one used the end of a banana leaf as a cap, baldness was the punishment.  All the children born in the family were called by the name of the god.

20.  TUIPANGOTA—­The King of Criminals.

A household god, and the special guardian of a particular family against thieving.  If any thing was stolen the unknown culprit was given over by prayer to be put to death in some way by Tuipangota.  A raised stone platform was erected in the house on which he was supposed to sit, and close beside it was another to serve the purpose of an altar, on which offerings were laid.

21.  TAUMANUPEPE—­Fight creature butterfly.

This family god was incarnate in butterflies.  Any one of that household catching or killing these beautiful winged insects were liable to be struck dead by the god.

In another family this god was supposed to have three mouths.  There it was forbidden to drink from a cocoa-nut shell water-bottle which had all the three eyes or openings perforated.  Only one, or at the most two, apertures for drinking were allowed.  A third would be a mockery, and bring down the wrath of his butterflyship.

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